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06.09.2007

Politicians not welcome in National Media Union

   

Ukraine’s National Media Trade Union [the Union] has issued a statement regarding membership by politicians.  This follows considerable media attention over the last few weeks to the question of whether Hanna German from the Party of the Regions could at the same time be a member of the union.

The statement reads:

The National Media Trade Union of Ukraine was formed as part of journalists’ struggle against censorship, political interference in our work and the arbitrary behaviour of officials and media owners with regard to journalists. The inalienable values underpinning our trade union movement are defence of freedom of speech from political influence and the formation of a self-governing trade union accountable only to journalists.

However over recent times, especially during the election campaign, the wish has become more and more marked among politicians to use the Union for their own purposes. We must emphatically counter this.

For example, recent events, caused by financial assistance paid into the account of the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union by representatives of one of the political parties actively participating in the elections, and the publicity campaign around one member of that party joining the union, have placed in question the principles we espouse. This has become part an information war between participants in the elections aimed at discrediting political opponents.  The Union would thus risk becoming drawn into a political battle and being used by politicians as a means to their ends.

We acknowledge that this situation has been caused by shortcomings in the union’s statutory documents. We need to clearly regulate the situation with regard to membership in the trade union, as well as with respect to receiving and using donations.

In connection with this we have taken the decision to place a moratorium until the end of the elections on membership over recent times of currently active politicians and on the use of any donations received. In order to avoid any political speculation we call on all members of the Union who are standing for office as National Deputies to submit within seven days a request to have their membership suspended.

We do not wish to be taking the side of any political force and we will clearly adhere to this principle. To this end the National Media Trade Union is committing itself to submit to the trade union congress supplements to the statutory documents which will in future clearly and unequivocally regulate questions regarding joining, belonging to and exclusion from the Union, as well as rules for receiving and using donations or other financial assistance.

The National Media Trade Union also intends to publicly confirm the suspension of the membership of other journalists involved in political activities.

Passed by the National Media Trade Union on 5 September 2007

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